Fish Eagles going for gold! (Lake Mburo Part 3)

With heart rates slowly returning to a state of what would be considered sort of normal, Moses angled the boat toward another section of papyrus and reeds, going nice and slowly. Malachite and Pied Kingfishers abounded to the point they made sparrows and house crows seem rare, although their numbers were never remotely near the number of Fish Eagles.

As far as one could see along the shores there were pairs, individuals and immatures perched - pairs were max 100m apart, so the call of Africa was in "super theatre" surround sound, occasionally shattered to embarrassing smithereens by the breaking and untrained voice of a youngster (not a dissimilar interruption to that of a single strum of a loud un-tuned electric guitar in the middle a choral choir's performance!)

We slowly crossed this section of lake to where the shore was lined with large fig trees and acacias - in addition to overhanging vegetation and some papyrus and reeds here and there. After the heron's blaze of glory, I remained silent about the possibility of African Finfoot, not wanting to jinx the possibility of a sighting. The perched Fish Eagles provided for some relaxing photography of pairs as well individuals flying and calling at the same time which rather looked like a Boeing plane with a Concorde nose upside down - don't these flippen birds care to look where they're flying, heads pointed at the sky and calling yet hurtling through space like kamikaze pilots?!! A nice scoop for me was a sequence of photos of a pair mating (missed out only on photos of some Fish Eagle laying eggs I think)

Let's do it like they do it on the Discovery Channel darling!

Hang on love!! Nearly there (thinks... "damn, almost losing my balance here!")

Phew!! Male: "That was hard Work!" Female: "THAT's IT??!"

Pushing this avian exhibitionism reluctantly to the back of our minds we approached the outer edge of the comfort zone of a buffalo relaxing on the shore with a small retinue of attendees including Little Egret, 6x Water Thick-knees, Pied Wagtail and at a safer distance, Common Sandpiper.

The 'upstanding' member of the retinue

Common Sandpiper preferring the safer option a bit further away

Slowly drifting past this scene of inactivity, I almost did a back somersault out of the boat when Moses hissed "quick!! Photo!! Finfoot!!!". My eyes wide at this sudden excitement, searched and saw nada! "Where Moses?" "In front of us!!" came the tolerant reply. ahhhhhhhh!!! oh WOOOW! The sound of rapid shutter fire dominates the air waves for a few seconds, then quiet - gets rather difficult taking photos when your grin is halfway around your head! Heart now again racing, palms sweating and adrenaline pumping, Moses makes the understated and softly spoken comment of "Oh, and there's a crocodile" Hmmmmm! the visible parts about about 3m but can't see the tail - this thing was &^%$&*(read "VERY") huge! Oh, and there's a hippo yawning. HUHHHH??! about 10m away!

At this stage it appeared we had intruded on Hippoville's monthly council meeting and the whole district's members were attending. The channel is narrow with hardly any space (to me it seemed it like none) to turn around, only go forward. Moses calmly (I think) finds a wee dent of penny-sized space in the papyrus and makes a perfect 180 degree U-turn with the rear end passing only a couple of metres from an irritated council member. We exited quietly yet with some haste from here but not before Moses had pointed out both the Striated and Squacco Herons. Oh yes, I had forgotten - International Heron Day or something today as well!?!

Part 4: MORE suprises!


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